Making your Cochrane review more visible with a video

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Soumitra S Datta and Ajit Kumar are both child psychiatrists and Cochrane reviewers for more than 15 years with the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group. Rajendrani Mukherjee is a professional illustrator. Anisha Basu is passionate about art and is in her first year of medical school. Saranya Banerjee and Rhea Daruvala are both clinical psychologists.

Have you recently published a Cochrane systematic review? Would you want your review to be visible around the world but you do not know how? Don’t worry ! We will take you through the steps of producing attractive videos that you could share with the links to your review. A good video should make the key message of your review more accessible and easily understandable to lay audiences, policymakers, and service users.


Before beginning:

  1. Build a team: As researchers, you may not have all the skills for producing audio-visual materials necessary. We would recommend you to harness local talent. Especially look for artists, young professionals and students who are good at translating concepts into visual medium.
  2. Learn from others: Search for good examples of videos and graphics, especially from your field of work.
  3. Distill your key message: Based on the abstract of your systematic review you need to be able to distill the key concepts that you want to convey to the broader audience. The key message should be brief and scientifically supported by the findings of your review. See the Dissemination Checklist for some help on what to include. 
  4. Collaborate with service users: During the process of knowledge translation, you might want to collaborate with service users or patient advocates.
  5. Understand the Cochrane branding guidelines: Familiarise yourself with the Cochrane Brand Guidelines, which provides direction on how to use of the Cochrane logo and the colour palette (which is specific to each review group). The three graphics in this blog are examples of sticking to the ‘teal palette’ of the Cochrane Collaboration. You may have to use other colours depending on which review group you belong to. We would strongly recommend you read the Cochrane branding guidelines and get in touch with the Cochrane Knowledge Translation Department. At first you may feel overwhelmed with the details given in the branding related documents.  But, if you pause for a minute, you will understand that the breadth of the documents is to do away with any ambiguity and ultimately help users.

Producing videos

  1. Avoid stereotypes: It's important to avoid stereotyped depiction of patient’s illness experience e.g. image of a person holding his head between his hands (to depict psychological distress) or images of people with hair loss (to depict a person with cancer).  At best, these images do not encompass all the aspects of a person’s journey through the illness, and at worst, may contribute to the stigma related to the condition.  
  2. Avoid busy slides: You should avoid a lot of texts in any videos as it defeats the purpose. Keep the videos short, preferably less than a minute in duration.Doodle of group looking at a graphic


  3. Use Graphics: Try to produce original graphics that are simple yet representative of the idea you want to convey. When borrowing graphics, be sure that you use non-copyrighted images with appropriate permissions and acknowledgments.
  4. Get feedback: You should be prepared to share a draft version with the knowledge translation team or whoever will put up your visual abstract. You should be flexible to change according to their helpful suggestions.  If the platform where you aspire to put up the video is run professionally, you are likely receive prompt but very specific feedback. You need to incorporate the changes and revert back. If you are planning on multiple videos, we suggest that you get feedback on the first one so that the subsequent ones are already in line with the organisational guidelines.
  5. Don’t fret about deadlines: Do not feel too pressured to finalise the visual abstracts on the same day your review is published. We understand that as authors you may be having several deadlines to deal with. You may not be sure of the exact date of publication of your review in advance. Don't worry . The video is not a part of your actual review. You can add the video along with a link to your review when you circulate it through social media, after publication.
  6. Get others to share: Cochrane can host your videos on their YouTube and help share out through their various platforms. They can also share with in Comms Digest, so that other geographical groups can share and perhaps translate. Share your final version with Cochrane's Knowledge Translation Department so they can celebrate your success and share further!

We are still learning! Here are two examples we made recently:


 You can see more samples of videos  produced by our team here for our recent review 'Psychological interventions for psychosis in adolescents'. More guidance on creating videos is also available on Cochrane Training. 


Picture credits: Rajendrani Mukherjee
Video credits: Sourav Patra


21 August 2020

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